The previous record of 47 bubble-rings had been set by Australian diver Jack Blomeley at Sydney’s Sea Life Centre.

Told by Guinness World Records that he would have to replicate the conditions under which Blomeley set his record, using a publicly accessible pool, Henson chose Carlton Forum Leisure Centre.

“I’m 55 and overweight; I’ve snorkelled a bit but have never freedived,” Henson told Divernet. “But I can blow very small bubble-rings and lots of them, so I thought maybe I was in with a chance.”

He decided to make only a single attempt and, modestly, to avoid “pushing the record number too high, so as to encourage others to have a go”.

With his two-man support team, an underwater cameraman/specialist witness and two independent witnesses standing by, Henson settled at the bottom of the pool.

“I blew the first ring, and to my horror it collapsed halfway up. It flashed through my mind that this was going to be a disaster, and all caught on film.

“I waited what seemed like ages for the bubbles to clear, then, with renewed determination, I managed to clear my mind and, to my relief, produce a further 66 perfect rings.” GWR has since confirmed the record.

“Bubble-rings are not hard to do – as my wife says: ‘Any idiot can do them’,” said Henson.

However, he advises anyone wishing to try to break his record to “always have supervision when doing a breath-holding activity, keep your air-rings as small as possible to maximise your breath and, importantly, fill out an application from GWR before your attempt, and download the full guidelines. Good luck!”

The record-setting can be seen here.

*  THE GUINNESS world record for Longest Human Chain Underwater has been claimed by US scuba group Dixie Divers, following a 386-strong event that took place at Deerfield Beach in Florida on 16 June. The previous record of 353 divers was achieved by Australian divers in Victoria last December.

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